AS THE dust clears on the “mother of all bombs” dropped on Afghanistan we might reflect on the senseless horror caused by 16 years of the “war on terror.”
The long-suffering country was the first to fall victim to the “new American century” as the United States, with Britain trotting along obediently at its side, began Operation Enduring Freedom.
Coming less than a month after the September 11 terrorist attacks on New York, the invasion was officially aimed at capturing or killing Osama bin Laden, “dismantling” his al-Qaida terror network and removing the Taliban from power.
We can leave aside the point that the Taliban would never have been in power had the US not armed and backed the medievalist mojahedin rebels — including bin Laden — in its long war to overthrow Afghanistan’s Soviet-backed socialist government in the 1980s, and simply measure the success of those war aims.
Bin Laden is dead — but in the end turned out to be in Pakistan, not Afghanistan.
Al-Qaida is far, far stronger than it was in 2001, most notably because of the 2003 invasion of Iraq, which prompted an explosion of sectarian violence which continues to this day.